Maharashtra: Welfare schemes victims of graft

  • Pratik Salunke, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 09, 2015 22:23 IST

A man in Pune district was sanctioned a house under the Indira Awaas Yojana, a social welfare programme started by the government to construct houses for those below the poverty line. Ramchandra Pawar, 54, an assistant with the district council, was booked after he demanded a bribe of Rs 800 to release the cheque of Rs 18,500 as the third instalment to the man.

A family from a small village in Nashik district constructed a toilet in their house under the open defecation-free scheme. While a cheque was released to the family under the welfare scheme, the gram sevak wanted Rs600 as bribe. The family approached the ACB following which Ravindra Nerkar, 39, was booked.

Corrupt government servants are not allowing the common man to get the benefits of welfare schemes implemented. The anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) revealed that corruption cases related to 29 welfare schemes and programmes were reported across the state last year. The total bribe amount involved was Rs 5.51 lakh.

The ACB laid 40 traps in which government officials were allegedly demanding or accepting bribe from the claimants. A slew of corruption cases across the state have raised serious concerns about the implementation of the welfare schemes. “The actual rate of corruption is more, as these are only the cases that have been reported,” said Praveen Dixit, director general of police, ACB, told HT.

The 40 cases were reported against officials from panchayat samiti (12), zilla parishad (6), social welfare department (4), revenue department (4), Mahatma Phule Backward Class Development Corporation (2), agriculture department (2), health department (2), women and child welfare department (3), tribal development department (2), Maharashtra State Other Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (1), co-operation department (1) and municipal corporation (1).

“The government has introduced several good schemes, but it is equally important to ensure that the benefits reach to the needy,” said Dixit.

Dixit said there needs to be strong vigilance department for each and every scheme. “Most of the welfare schemes benefit the marginalised sectors. Vigilance officers should be appointed for every scheme to ensure that money is not siphoned off from them,” he said.

The ACB has instructed government offices to put up boards asking people to approach the agency in case of any corruption complaint, along with the contact number and address.

The launch of 1064 helpline in October 2014 has helped enhance the cause, said sources. Anyone can call the helpline to report graft or corruption cases against government officials.

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